"Mega Dump" stirs mega controversy

It's an on-going struggle in Marlboro County between a skeptical public and a county council that says its skeptics aren't listening.

The council said Tuesday night it opposes a proposal to build a mega-dump and has done all it can to stop it. What it couldn't stop was the parade of costumes. Opponents packed the council meeting where many of them were draped with large black garbage bags.

Signs hung from the trash bags with slogans like, "we're not trash."

A company called MMR wants to build a solid waste landfill on about 900 acres near the Wallace community. DHEC granted the company something called a Demonstration of Need. That essentially says DHEC sees a need for such a landfill in the area.

During months of public comment from the public, the county council consistently said it had no comment on the issue. It said it was looking into all options. The option they eventually pursued was to file suit against DHEC. The lawsuit claims DHEC didn't properly assess the need for a landfill, and thus, the Demonstration of Need, is unconstitutional.

A lawyer for Marlboro County says the county's official position is opposition to the landfill. Why else, he says, would it pursue legal action against DHEC?

Even with that knowledge, opponents are not satisfied with the council's actions and say it's failing to effectively communicate their position to the people.

DHEC Spokeswoman Joan Litton says MMR, although granted a Demonstration of Need, has not applied for the full permit application. Even if it were to file for that permit, DHEC says it would not move forward with the approval process until the lawsuits against it are resolved.